Six Wilkes University wrestlers punched their tickets to the 2014 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championship in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
For Mark Hartenstine (149), Kris Krawchuk (157), Myzar Mendoza (133), William Fletcher (285), Eric Bach (197) and Kyle Diesel (174) their seasons have come to this final tournament, the National championships.
Leading the way for the Colonels are redshirt junior Mark Hartenstine and seniors Kris Krawchuk and William Fletcher who will be making their second straight NCAA appearances.
First-time appearances for the Colonels are senior Myzar Mendoza, junior Eric Bach, and sophomore Kyle Diesel.
“It’s great. I love having the opportunity to represent Wilkes on a national stage.” Hartenstine said. Hartenstine is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation going into the weekend with a record of 38-1. “Having other team mates here is awesome because we have been training all year together and we all know how hard each of us has worked for the chance to compete at nationals.”
Krawchuk was equally excited: “It’s always a great feeling representing Wilkes wrestling since we have such a great winning history in the sport. We have a lot of guys with us this year which makes it a great experience to be able to share with them.”
Krawchuk enters his second NCAA Championship appearance with a record of 15-5.
“Wrestling on a national stage is very exciting,” said Fletcher, a Senior heavyweight. “Having the chance to represent Wilkes University wrestling and its strong winning history is something to be proud of.”
Fletcher enters his second straight NCAA Championship appearance with a record of 24-9.
“It’s going to feel good to put on that Colonels singlet on the national stage; there’s really no feeling like it,” said Bach, a 197-pounder. Bach punches his first ticket to nationals with a record of 18-8.
Diesel, a sophomore 174-pounder, is the youngest of all the Wilkes wrestlers who are attending nationals. He enters his first NCAA appearance with a record of 24-12.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for me,” Diesel said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m proud to represent Wilkes University.”
Mendoza , a 133-pound senior, added: “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since my freshman year. The goal has always been to make it to nationals and represent Wilkes by placing in the top eight.”
Mendoza enters his first NCAA appearance with a record of 26-7 and a career record of 108-30.
Many people wonder how a college wrestler prepares for the biggest tournament of the year. Many wrestlers have different pre-match rituals.
“I prepare by sticking to my prematch routines and staying constant with my workouts. I believe the best way to approach the post season is to stay with what has been working for me in the past,” Hartenstine said.
“We just keep doing the same things we’ve done all year just tweaking some things here and there, adding some extra conditioning workouts and staying fresh,” Krawchuk said. “The biggest part of preparing is staying mentally focused and well rested.”
“It’s important just to stay focused and put in more work than I have throughout the year. It’s the last tournament of my career so it is important to me to do my best,” said senior William Fletcher.
The championships were held March 14-15 at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids. Cornell (Iowa) will serve as the host.
Results were not available at presstime. Check The Beacon online and in the March 25 edition for results.